Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Paul Kelly declares 'Life Is Fine' on new album

I always look forward to new music from Australia's national treasure of a songwriter and one of my past interview subjects. Kelly's last full length studio album was among my top 10 best of '16. Since I missed his recent local appearance, I'm glad he'll be returning. Here's the latest PR...

Paul Kelly's upcoming album Life Is Fine — is due out in North America on Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl via The Orchard on Aug. 11. It finds Kelly playing with a band reminiscent of his finest ’80s recordings.

Paul enjoys playing live and in support of the new album, he will tour the continent with a full band — his first such North American tour in 13 years, since the Ways & Means album. 

Kelly agrees about early comparisons with albums he made with the Messengers, such as Gossip and So Much Water So Close To Home. “I was aware of that as we were making it,” Kelly says. “The guitar riff at the start of “Firewood and Candles” (the first single/focus track) is like a Sunnyboys song. Those kind of guitar lines, nothing fancy but really strong, are like the ones Steve Connolly used to play with the Messengers. I can see a lot of parallels to those records I was making then.’’ 

Life Is Fine features some guest vocalists via frequent collaborators/singers Vika and Linda Bull. “I wonder why I hadn’t thought of it sooner, to have another voice on my records besides mine. A lot of my favorite bands have that. The Stones have Keith Richards, the Velvet Underground had Nico. Vika sings “My Man’s Got a Cold,” which has a Bessie Smith attitude. “Don’t Explain” is sung by Linda. It’s at least 25 years old. I have been trying to get a woman to sing it for that long.” 

“I knew I wanted it to be an upbeat record,” Kelly continues. “We worked with Steve Schram, who engineered and co-produced. He likes to work really fast and get the performance of the band live in the studio, vocals and all at the same time. There are lots of different ways to make records but that’s the way I like to do it now.’’  Featured musicians include Ashley Naylor on guitar, Bill McDonald on bass, Cameron Bruce on keys and Peter Luscombe on drums. 

One of the reasons behind Kelly’s enduring power as a songwriter is his continual drive to break old habits and find new ways to refresh his creativity. A massive songwriting breakthrough for Kelly came after writing his autobiography How To Make Gravy. 

“Five years ago I was asked by the Australian National Academy of Music to write a song cycle for their students with a modern classical composer. This was after I had spent a couple of years writing a book and in that time I had hardly written a song. I felt rusty. I started looking at poems with a linking theme, which is how the show and the album Conversations With Ghosts (currently not available in North America) came about with James Ledger. 

“That turned a little key for me. Until that point the music had always come first. I thought putting music to a lyric wouldn’t work, that it might be too stiff or control the music too much. I was wrong about that. Now, just for fun, I like to find a poem and have a go at putting music to it. It has given me another arrow in the quiver as a songwriter and it came along at a good time after writing songs for 30 years.  When you have a beautiful set of words to begin with, whether it’s Shakespeare or Yeats or Les Murray, a lot of the hard work is done if you can write a good melody for it.” 

“The lyric for the album’s title tune and concluding track, with lines like “If that water hadn’t been so cold I might have sunk and died,” sounds exactly like something Kelly would have written. Yet it is by the American poet Langston Hughes, who died in 1967. A friend of mine sent me the poem 18 months ago and it looked like a song lyric. Recording it we took a more folky approach, without drums, so I wasn’t sure if it would fit on this record. It was the lyric that helped get it over the line.” 

Kelly adds, “At first I worried about Life Is Fine as a title because life is not fine for everyone. But I like the original meaning of fine, as in life is a fine thread. We never know what is going to happen the very next minute, or what is just around the corner.’’ 

North American tour dates: 

Sun., Sept. 17 WASHINGTON DC The Hamilton 
Tue., Sept. 19 TORONTO, ON The Mod Club 
Wed., Sept. 20 MONTREAL, QC Petit Campus 
Fri., Sept. 22 BOSTON, MA Brighton Music Hall 
Sat., Sept. 23 NEW YORK, NY The Highline Ballroom 
Sun., Sept. 24 SELLERSVILLE / PHILADELPHIA, PA Sellersville Theater
Tue., Sept. 26 RALEIGH, NC Stag’s Head Music Hall 
Wed., Sept. 27 ATLANTA, GA City Winery 
Fri., Sept. 29 DALLAS, TX Sons of Herman Hall 
Sat., Sept. 30 AUSTIN, TX 3ten  
Mon., Oct. 2 TOMBALL, TX Main Street Crossing
Wed., Oct. 4 NASHVILLE, TN City Winery 
Thu., Oct. 5 LOUISVILLE, KY Zanzabar 
Sat., Oct. 7 DETROIT, MI Magic Bag 
Sun., Oct. 8 CHARLESTON, WV The Clay Center for the Arts — Mountain Stage (NPR) taping
Wed., Oct. 11 MINNEAPOLIS, MN Cedar Hall
Fri., Oct. 13 DENVER, CO Daniels Hall 
Sat., Oct. 14 SALT LAKE CITY, UT The State Room 
Mon., Oct. 16 VANCOUVER, BC Imperial 
Tue., Oct. 17 PORTLAND, OR Doug Fir Lounge 
Wed., Oct. 18 SEATTLE, WA The Crocodile 
Fri., Oct. 20 SAN FRANCISCO, CA Slims 
Sun., Oct. 22 LOS ANGELES, CA The Roxy 
Thu., Dec. 21 Gravy Day 

Select Discography: 
Life Is Fine (August 11, 2017) - Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl America 
Death’s Dateless Night w/Charlie Owen (October 7, 2016) - Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl America
Seven Sonnets And A Song (July 29, 2016) - Gawd Aggie/Cooking Vinyl America
Paul Kelly presents - The Merri Sessions (2015) - Gawd Aggie
Conversations With Ghosts (2013) - Australia only
Spring And Fall (2012) - Gawd Aggie 
The A to Z Recordings (2010) - Gawd Aggie
Songs FromThe South: The Best of Paul Kelly Vols. 1 & 2 (2009) - Gawd Aggie

View the Paul Kelly EPK:

Debut from Bash & Pop (the Replacements' Tommy Stinson) gets deluxe reissue

I interviewed Tommy for this album, so I can't wait to hear the reissue. If memory serves, I think I even included it in my year-end best list. Read more from the press release below...

When the Replacements called it quits in 1991, founding member Tommy Stinson missed playing in a band with great chemistry and whose members all shared the same vision. He recruited then-Replacements drummer Steve Foley, Foley’s brother Kevin, and Steve Brantseg to form a new band — Bash & Pop.

Recorded with producer Don Smith (Cracker, Keith Richards, John Hiatt) and with help from Heartbreakers Benmont Tench and Mike Campbell, Americana icon Greg Leisz, Wire Train’s Jeff Trott, and more, the band’s debut album, Friday Night Is Killing Me, arrived in January of 1993. It combined stellar performances and a renewed energy, something many felt the last few Replacements records were missing.

Friday Night Is Killing Me returns via Omnivore Recordings on Sept. 8 — on the heels of this year’s new Bash & Pop album and tour. (The band will be heading out with the Psychedelic Furs across the U.S. this summer and fall.)

In addition to the original 11-track release, an 18-track bonus disc adds rare singles and B-sides, their contribution to the soundtrack of the 1994 film Clerks, and a whopping 15 previously unissued performances (encompassing the entire second disc). The packaging contains photos and a new essay from Bob Mehr, author of the acclaimed bestseller Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements.

The reissue was produced by the Replacements’ former manager Peter Jesperson and Omnivore’s Grammy® Award-winning Cheryl Pawelski. It was mastered by Bash & Pop bassist Justin Perkins.

While many are discovering Bash & Pop for the first time on their current tour, and via their new release, the time is right to reintroduce the record that started it all — Friday Night Is Killing Me.

Track listing:
Disc One:
1. Never Aim To Please
2. Hang Ups
3. Loose Ends

4. One More Time
5. Tickled To Tears
6. Nothing
7. Fast & Hard
8. Friday Night (Is Killing Me)
9. He Means It
10. Tiny Pieces
11. First Steps

Disc Two:
1. Never Aim To Please (Home Demo) *
2. First Ups (Home Demo) *
3. Hang Ups (Home Demo) *

4. Tiny Pieces (Home Demo) *

5. Situation

6. Harboring A Fugitive

7. Making Me Sick

8. Nothing (Alternate Version) *

9. One More Time (Alternate Version) *
10. He Means It (Alternate Version) *
11. Loose Ends (Alternate Version) *
12. Hang Ups (Alternate Version) *

13. Tickled To Tears (Alternate Version) *
14. Fast & Hard (Alternate Version) *
15. Friday Night (Is Killing Me) (Alternate Version) *

16. Tiny Pieces (Alternate Version) *
17. Never Aim To Please (Alternate Version) *
18. Speak Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace (Instrumental) *

* Previously Unissued

Watch the Bash & Bob trailer:

Grizzly Bear to make long-awaited return

Grizzly Bear has released a new song, “Four Cypresses,” from their first album in five years, Painted Ruins, out Aug. 18 on RCA Records.

Watch the lyric video for “Four Cypresses,” which includes footage from Daniel’s family video collection, here:

Painted Ruins follows 2012’s Shields, which was a critical and commercial breakthrough and debuted at #7 on the Billboard 200. 

The band has also confirmed additional dates on their worldwide tour in support of the album. See full itinerary below.

Track listing:

1. Wasted Acres
2. Mourning Sound
3. Four Cypresses
4. Three Rings
5. Losing All Sense
6. Aquarian
7. Cut-Out
8. Glass Hillside
9. Neighbors
10. Systole
11. Sky Took Hold

Tour dates:

Aug 14 – Portland, ME – State Theatre
Aug 15 – Kingston, NY – BSP Kingston
Aug 16 – Kingston, NY – BSP Kingston
Oct 4 – Dublin, IR – Vicar Street
Oct 5 – Dublin, IE – Vicar Street
Oct 6 – Manchester, UK – Albert Hall
Oct 8 – Glasgow, UK – O2 ABC
Oct 9 – London, UK – O2 Academy Brixton
Oct 10 – Bexhill On The Sea, UK – Bexhill De La Warr Pavilion
Oct 12 – Berlin, DE – Columbiahalle
Oct 13 – Utrecht, NL – TivoliVredenburg
Oct 14 – Brussels, BE – Ancienne Belgique
Oct 16 – Paris, FR – L’Olympia
Nov 1 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
Nov 2 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Steel
Nov 3 - Brooklyn, NY - Brooklyn Steel
Nov 7 - Philadelphia, PA - The Fillmore
Nov 9 - Knoxville, TN - The Mill & Mine
Nov 12 - New Orleans, LA - Civic Theatre
Nov 14 - Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle
Nov 15 - Orlando, FL - House of Blues
Nov 16 - Miami Beach, FL - The Fillmore
Nov 19 - Mexico City, MX - Corona Capital
Nov 26 - Montreal, QC - Metropolis
Nov 27 - Toronto, ON - Massey Hall
Nov 28 - Royal Oak, MI - Royal Oak Music Theatre
Dec 1 - St. Paul, MN - Palace Theatre
Dec 3 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
Dec 7 - Vancouver, BC - Orpheum Theatre
Dec 8 - Seattle, WA - Moore Theatre
Dec 9 - Portland, OR - Roseland Theatre
Dec 11 - San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theater
Dec 12 – San Francisco, CA - Warfield Theater
Dec 13 - Los Angeles, CA - The Wiltern


iTunes -
Apple Music -
Spotify -
Spotify Pre-Save -
Amazon -
Google Play -

Friday, June 23, 2017

Out today: The Chain Gang of 1974

The Chain Gang of 1974 has released new album Felt on Caroline Records. Of the collection, leader Kamtin Mohager tells us, "After 10 years of having this project, I believe that Felt sounds exactly like what Chain Gang Of 1974 is supposed to sound like."

This is his third full-length under the moniker Chain Gang of 1974, which was preceded by Wayward Fire and Daydream Forever. He worked with producer Thom Powers of The Naked and Famous to complete it.

For the recent clip for "Wallflowers," the concept strayed from the structures of a typical music video into mini-documentary format, following the story of an Iranian adolescent whose family immigrated to the US at a dire moment in her battle with cancer. The video lets art overlap with current events to tell a story of obstacles overcome. 

Mohager told Billboard Magazine of his approach to this video, "I didn't want to present 'Wallflowers' in the typical music video fashion. I wrote this song knowing that it was bigger than me; a story needed to be told, with the song serving solely as its soundtrack. This represents love. This represents care. This represents all of us." 

Track list: 

1. Slow
3. Wallflowers
3. I Still Wonder
4. Forget feat. Alisa Xayalith
5. Looking For Love
6. It Needs You
7. Bliss
8. Human
9. Temptation

Liam Gallagher news

Liam Gallagher has announced his eagerly anticipated debut solo album As You Were. Set for an October 6 release date via Warner Bros./Parlophone Records, fans can pre-order the album today and receive and instant download of first single "Wall of Glass" followed by "China Town" on June 30.

Fans will also have the ability to purchase the album in a variety of formats including digitally (standard and deluxe), CD (standard and jewel case) and vinyl (standard 12" and limited edition color 12" formats).Click here to pre-order.

A special box set will also be available from here. This exclusive compiles a 12" color vinyl pressing of the album, an exclusive 7" single of "For What It's Worth," a print designed by Klaus Voorman (the artist behind The Beatles' Revolver album cover) and additional collectors' items.

As You Were was recorded in two locations. Greg Kurstin performed all of the instruments on the four songs that he produced ("Wall Of Glass," "Paper Crown," "Come Back To Me" and "It Doesn't Have To Be That Way"), while Dan Grech-Marguerat produced the remainder of the album at Snap! Studios in London.

"I didn't want to be reinventing anything or going off on a space jazz odyssey," says Gallagher, about the album. "It's the Lennon 'Cold Turkey' vibe, The Stones, the classics. But done my way, now."

Gallagher has also confirmed his first ever North American tour as a solo artist. Fans can pre-order tickets now. Local market tickets pre-sales begin June 27. All pre-sales will end June 28 at 10:00 p.m. local time.

General ticket on-sales begin June 29, at 10:00 a.m. local time. Ticket bundles packages will also be available. With every online ticket purchased for Gallagher's fall tour, fans will receive a choice of either a standard physical or standard digital copy of his upcoming album, As You Were, releasing October 6, 2017. For further info check here: 

Joining Liam Gallagher on the road will be Jay Mehler on guitars, Mike Moore on guitars, Christian Madden on keyboards, Drew McConnell on bass, and Dan McDougall on drums. 

North American tour dates:

Oct 7 San Bernardino, CA Glen Helen Regional Park
Nov 13 San Francisco, CA Warfield
Nov 18 Denver, CO Gothic
Nov 20 Minneapolis, MN First Avenue
Nov 21 Chicago, IL The Riviera
Nov 23 Toronto, ON Rebel
Nov 25 Boston, MA House of Blues
Nov 27 New York, NY Terminal 5
Nov 29 Washington, DC Lincoln Theatre
Nov 30 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer

Out today: 311's 'Mosaic'

311's new album Mosaic - out now on BMG  - and the alt-rock band just launched their U.S. summer headlining tour.

Today at 3:11 p.m. PT, the band will launch a one-hour online listening party for the new release with track-by-track commentary from singer Nick Hexum. Listen in live here:

For Mosaic, 311 worked with producer John Feldmann (Blink-182, Panic! At The Disco) as well as Scotch Ralston (who produced the group's Transistor, Soundsystem and Stereolithic CDs).

Of the album's current single "Too Much to Think," Hexum states, "Musically, it starts out with a signature 311 guitar riff. The unique thing about this arrangement is that the chorus is so sparse. Usually, the chorus is the biggest part of the song. The first time you hear 'I wanna get high, but you're keeping me low' it's just voice and very sparse reggae guitar and bass. Then it kicks in. The song's been described as an earworm. It sticks in your head."

The headlining run of North America started last night in Cleveland. Unity Tour 2017 marks the group's 18th consecutive summer headlining the U.S. The outing features special guests New Politics plus The Skints and Passafire (on select shows). 311 will also make headline appearances at several festivals and radio events. The full tour itinerary is listed below and on:

MOSAIC is available now at:

311 is singer Nick Hexum, guitarist Tim Mahoney, bassist P-Nut, drummer Chad Sexton and singer/DJ S.A. Martinez.

Track listing:

Too Much to Think
The Night is Young
Island Sun
Perfect Mistake
Inside Our Home
'Til the City's on Fire
Too Late
Hey Yo
Places That the Mind Goes
Face in the Wind
Forever Now
Days of '88
One and the Same
Syntax Error
On a Roll

Tour dates:

6/24 Montebello, Quebec
Amnesia Rockfest

6/25 Detroit, MI
The Fillmore

6/28 Columbus, OH
Express Live

6/29 St. Louis, MO
Pageant Theatre

6/30 Lincoln, NE
Lincoln on the Streets Party

7/2 Chicago, IL
Northerly Island Pavilion

7/3 Kansas City, MO

7/4 Indianapolis, IN
Pavilion at Pan Am Plaza

7/6 Pittsburgh, PA
Stage AE

7/7 Hampton Beach, NH
HB Casino

7/8 Portland, ME
Maine State Pier

7/10 Buffalo, NY

7/11 New York City, NY
Hammerstein Ballroom

7/14 Long Island, NY
Great South Bay Music Festival

7/15 Asbury Park, NJ
Stone Pony Summerstage

7/16 Boston, MA
Blue Hills Bank Pavilion

7/19 Glen Allen, VA
Innsbrook After Hours

7/21 Philadelphia, PA
Penns Landing at Festival Pier

7/22 Hartford, CT
CT Convention Center

7/24 Washington, D.C.
Fillmore Silver Spring

7/25 Washington, D.C.
Fillmore Silver Spring
7/26 Charlotte, NC
Metro Credit Union Amphitheater

7/28-29 Atlanta, GA

7/30 Myrtle Beach, SC
House of Blues

8/1 Boca Raton, FL
Sunset Cove Amphitheater

8/2 St Augustine, FL
St Augustine Amphitheater

8/4 New Orleans, LA
Bold Sphere Amphitheater

8/5 Houston, TX
Revention Music Center

8/6 New Braunfels, TX
Whitewater Amp

8/8 Dallas, TX
Southside Ballroom

8/10 Albuquerque, NM
Sandia Casino

8/11 Denver, CO
Levitt Pavilion

8/12 Salt Lake City, UT
USANA Amphitheater

8/14 Boise, ID
Revolution Concert House

8/15 Eugene, OR
Cuthbert Amphitheater

8/16 San Jose, CA
City National Civic

8/18 Las Vegas, NV
Mandalay Bay Beach

8/19 Los Angeles, CA
Hollywood Palladium

8/20 San Diego, CA
Cal Coast Credit Union OAT

9/1 Virginia Beach, VA
American Music Festival

Neil Young's 'Decade' now available again

Neil Young has reissued his long out of print Decade anthology today via Reprise Records.

Originally released in 1977 on a triple vinyl set and compiled by Young, Tim Mulligan and David Briggs, Decade has long been considered the definitive 35-song collection of material covering the years between1966-1976.

It features Neil Young solo and with Crazy Horse, Buffalo Springfield, CSNY and the Stills-Young Band. Each of the tracks has been remastered with the original artwork and restored with inside photos by Joel Bernstein, Gary Burdan, Henry Diltz and Tom Wilkes.

Recently, Decade was re-released to its original 3-LP vinyl configuration for Record Store Day 2017 in a limited pressing. It is now widely available once more on vinyl, as a two CD set and digitally. Click here to purchase.

Track listing:


1. Down To The Wire
2. Burned
3. Mr. Soul
4. Broken Arrow
5. Expecting To Fly
6. Sugar Mountain
7. I Am A Child
8. The Loner
9. The Old Laughing Lady
10. Cinnamon Girl
11. Down By The River
12. Cowgirl In The Sand
13. I Believe In You
14. After The Gold Rush
15. Southern Man
16. Helpless


1. Ohio
2. Soldier
3. Old Man
4. A Man Needs A Maid
5. Harvest
6. Heart Of Gold
7. Star Of Bethlehem
8. The Needle And The Damage Done
9. Tonight's The Night (Part 1)
10. Tired Eyes
11. Walk On
12. For the Turnstiles
13. Winterlong
14. Deep Forbidden Lake
15. Like A Hurricane
16. Love Is A Rose
17. Cortez The Killer
18. Campaigner
19. Long May You Run